The Colombian Constitutional Court decriminalized this Wednesday medically assisted suicide, in which, unlike euthanasia, it is the patient who executes the action to end his life.
The high court, with a vote of six votes in favor and three against, decided to legalize this procedure after studying a lawsuit filed by the Laboratory of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (DescLAB).
The lawsuit was admitted by the Constitutional Court on September 1 of last year and with it it sought to declare the conditioned enforceability of the second paragraph of article 107 of the Penal Code, which establishes sentences of between 32 and 108 months in prison for those who “effectively induce another to suicide, or provide him with effective help to carry it out”.
“When the induction or help is aimed at putting an end to intense suffering from bodily injury or serious and incurable illness, a prison term of 16 to 36 months will be incurred,” adds the article in question.
Along these lines, DescLab’s objective is not that “assisted suicide be practiced by any person in any case”, but rather that the Court decide that “when a medical professional provides assistance so that another person ends his or her life under certain conditions, you will not receive criminal punishment.”
DescLab points out that “unlike euthanasia, where a medical professional is the one who causes the death of the person, through physician-assisted suicide the medical professional provides help or assistance so that the person is the one who causes his death. “.
“Both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have the same purpose, to cause the death of a person who meets the legal requirements. The difference is the role of the doctor and who ends up causing the death,” the information added.
Víctor Escobar, 60, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and hypertension, among other problems, became the first Colombian to receive euthanasia without being a terminal patient since the Constitutional Court ordered him on January 7. authorized last July.
Colombia was the first country in Latin America to decriminalize euthanasia and is one of the few in the world where it is legal after the Constitutional Court enshrined dignified death in 1997 as a fundamental right in case of terminal illness when the patient suffered a lot of pain. , will request it voluntarily and it will be carried out by a doctor.
Only 178 euthanasia procedures had been carried out in the country from April 2015 to October 15, 2021, according to the Ministry of Health.
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